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LJP To Ally BJP After Delhi Setback: ‘Keep Restraint Over Language In Bihar Polls’

Ahead of Bihar Assembly polls, LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan has said that restraint over language must be maintained & it should be fought on local issues

LJP

Ahead of Bihar Assembly polls that are eight months away, Union minister and LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan has said that it should be fought on local development issues and restraint over language must be maintained. His comments come as NDA faced a massive drubbing in the Delhi assembly polls. In his first statement after the polls, former BJP chief also agreed that statements like "Goli Maro", and "terrorist" harmed BJP's prospects. 

In Delhi assembly polls, the BJP led a vitriolic campaign in which even union finance minister Anurag Thakur was pulled up by the Election Commission for making inflammatory speeches. In an interview to PTI, Paswan said the NDA alliance in Bihar was intact and expressed confidence that it would form the government with a two-thirds majority as the Opposition was a "sunken ship".

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"LJP (Lok Janshakti Party) has strongly been with the NDA. I have always said only that animal dies on the road who cannot decide whether to go left or right. As far as Nitish (Kumar) ji is concerned, I don't think he will go anywhere," he said when asked about the state of the NDA alliance in Bihar.

Kumar's JD(U) and the LJP fought as part of the NDA, he pointed out, asserting that nobody would leave for the opposition alliance in Bihar. "What is there in the Opposition. Lalu Yadav is in jail, he is unwell, the rest of the parties are singing different tunes. So who will go over to the Opposition. It is not even a sinking ship, it is one that has already sunk. They are fighting among themselves, NDA is intact," the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said.

On BJP leader and Union Home Minister Amit Shah's assertion that Kumar would lead the NDA alliance in Bihar, he said the LJP has no objection to it. Asked about the vitriolic Delhi polls campaign and provocative statements by some BJP leaders in the run-up to the elections, he said LJP chief Chirag Paswan had made the party's stand clear on this and Shah also admitted that it might have been counterproductive. "No one has ever gone to the Election Commission against us. Chirag has said that the issue of election is one of development," he said.

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State Elections on local issues

Article 370 has been abrogated along with Article 35A, triple talaq banned and the Ram Janambhoomi issue is also resolved, so now the state election will be fought on local issue, he said.

"In national polls, there is no match for Narendra Modi. In state polls which happened recently, it has been proven that focus should be on local issues of development and restraint over language be maintained. Restraint over language should be a must and I would like to appeal to the people of Bihar to vote on the basis of performance, keeping in mind the work done by the central and state governments," he said.

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On seat-sharing

Asked if seat-sharing for the Bihar polls could be a stumbling block for the NDA, Paswan said everything would work out smoothly. He said his party could not come to an agreement with the BJP in Jharkhand but if they would have, results would have been better. "Our party never wants any undue favour. In 2014, we fought on seven seats. Before 2019, newspapers started saying that we will get 2 seats-3 seats, so Chirag made it clear that we fought 7 seats and we will fight the same. So there were talks with Amit shah and Arun Jaitley, we fought seven seats and won all of them," Paswan said.

On whether issues such as the amended citizenship act or the National Population Register (NPR) will be important in the Bihar polls, Paswan said, "I don't think so." He said all doubts had been cleared regarding the issues related to the CAA, NPR and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). Many state governments, including Bihar, said they would not implement the NRC and Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself made it clear that there was no discussion on NRC and it was not an issue. With curtains falling on the Delhi Assembly polls, all eyes are now on Bihar elections, slated for October and November this year.

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(with PTI inputs)

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